Cyanide poisoning: symptoms, antidote

Symptoms of cyanide intoxication

In the beginning of the last century, cyanide can be freely purchased at the pharmacy. It is not surprising that cases of poisoning with this toxic compounds were very common. Its toxicity it has the potential to cause negative changes at the cellular level, to reduce the functional activity of all vital systems. The cyanide intoxication often ends in death. To date, synthesized an effective antidote for the relief of dangerous symptoms and rapid elimination of the poison from the human body.

The characteristics of cyanide

Cyanides – compounds formed by chemical reaction of hydrocyanic acid with soluble salts. Toxic substances well soluble in water to form a colorless breeding. There is a myth that the poison can be detected in the weak aroma of bitter almonds. In fact, you must have a highly evolved sense of smell to smell the toxin even in high concentrations. How does potassium cyanide is a transparent white crystals, resembling sugar.

High humidity provokes the decomposition of the salts of hydrocyanic acid into its components. Cyanides accumulate in the environment, and inhalation in humans, there is severe intoxication, which may be fatal.

A poisonous compound is used in tobacco smoke, contains the seeds of fruit trees which like to split the children. The use of such delicacy can cause severe symptoms of poisoning in babies. Cyanides are classified as follows:

  1. Inorganic. The result of a simple chemical reaction between acid and base. Easily hydrolyzed in water to form anions and cations. Such compounds include: sodium cyanide, potassium cyanide, calcium cyanide, and others.
  2. Organic. Are the result of the interaction of hydrocyanic acid with complex substances. The most famous organic cyanides are canarina and canalaska acid, esters of hydrocyanic acid, the products of its fusion with nitrates.

Now the poisoning of cyanide is diagnosed very rarely. This situation may occur in the production during the decomposition of salts of hydrocyanic acid and release them into the atmosphere. They evaporate so fast that even modern sewage treatment plants are not able to rapidly detect toxic gases.

When you have an emergency, most often recorded cases of intoxication by inhalation of toxic fumes or gases. This condition is considered the most dangerous due to the rapid penetration of the poison inside the bloodstream. If the concentration of cyanide in the environment human death can occur few minute after the circulation of gas in the room. The same result of poisoning is by eating significant doses of toxic compounds inside.

In the stomach the cyanide react chemically with hydrochloric acid. They are hydrolysed to hydrocyanic acid, which is distributed by the bloodstream and prevents the transfer of molecular oxygen.

The poisoning is diagnosed and after the introduction of poisons on the mucous membranes or skin. If in the open areas of the human body is mechanical damage (cracks, scratches), it increases the rate of absorption of cyanide. For such pathways characteristic redness of the skin.

Where can you get poisoned by cyanide

Bone the cherries and apricots contain cyanide in small amounts. Poisoning may occur in the manufacture of jam, where Housewives put the kernels for flavor and a spicy hop bitterness. But if the jam is subjected to prolonged thermal treatment, the probability of intoxication is extremely low. The fact that when high temperatures, toxic compounds are removed to a safe for human health elements.

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In the presence of freezers, many people freeze fruits for cooking in winter pies or compotes. Do not store peaches, apricots, cherries more than one year. Cyanides have the ability to accumulate in such freezing. A way out could be to use the fruit, freed from seeds.

Salts of hydrocyanic acid are still used in agriculture. Enterprises as well as owners of private households use them to kill pests or rodents: mice, rats, moles. Fatal poisoning develops from improper storage of cyanide, exceeding the recommended dosages, non-compliance with safety precautions when working with poisons.

Toxic compounds are used in processing ore in the process of hydrometallurgy. The method is based on dissolution of metals in aqueous solutions of cyanides. Also poisonous substances are used:

  • upon receipt salts, which have a high conductivity for the formation of plating with gold, silver, platinum;
  • in laboratories and retsepturno-industrial departments of pharmacy cyanide in the composition of indicators for qualitative and quantitative analysis;
  • as the fixer for a great picture-on-wet technique.

Accidental poisoning with salts of hydrocyanic acid are not perfect. About ten years ago in Romania and Hungary have been documented dumping of toxic waste in part of the river valley. Deaths were recorded, but many people subsequently were diagnosed with a chronic illness. Their reason was long-term effect on the organism of small doses of cyanide. Fans of insects are at risk – they use the poison to replenish their collections. To give a watercolor deep blue some manufacturers add cyanide of iron.

The mechanism of intoxication with cyanides

The cause of death in cases of poisoning by cyanide is a respiratory arrest. Toxic compounds enter into chemical interaction with the enzyme cytochrome oxidase of the cells. They bind ferric iron, inhibiting electron transfer, violate their transport, synthesis of ATP stops. Molecules of oxygen remain bound with the hemoglobin inside the blood stream. While the flow of biological fluid to the tissue remains at the same level.

When the diagnosis of poisoning is an important evaluation criterion is the color of venous blood is its color bright red. This condition occurs due to excess hemoglobin.

In the absence of oxygen metabolism drops, and then stopped. Particularly affected are the brain cells responsible for regulation of the functional activity of all vital systems. There is a paradoxical situation when the body of excess molecular oxygen, but its transfer is impossible. The result of the growing symptoms of poisoning develop, the following negative processes:

  1. The Central nervous system.
  2. Inhibition of vasomotor and respiratory centers.

The lethal dose of cyanide for an adult is about 1.65 mg/kg of body weight. Extremely high toxicity can be attributed to all salts of hydrocyanic acid to form highly toxic compounds. In industries and laboratories is subject-quantitative account of cyanide of sodium, potassium, calcium to prevent poisoning.

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Even strict adherence to safety rules when working with inorganic salts of hydrocyanic acid, does not guarantee the absence of penetration into the organism of microscopic doses of poison. Doctors recommend that workers in laboratories or industrial plants to hold in the cheek a small piece of lump sugar. Sugar is a kind of trap molecules of cyanide.

You can not work with toxic compounds on an empty stomach – symptoms of poisoning will rapidly increase. Substances contained in foods, reduces the negative effects of poison, destroying it by oxidation.

Cyanide ions are always contained in the human body. They are part of some vitamins, enzymes, biologically active substances. Without them, there can be metabolism. As salts of hydrocyanic acid is a component of tobacco smoke, the inside the bloodstream circulates smokers increased dose of cyanide.

The main stages and the clinical picture of poisoning

For the conduct of detoxification treatment, it is important to find out what amount of poison is in the bound form. Manifestations of the symptoms also fundamentally different depending on the concentration of hazardous compounds inside the human body. Toxicologists there are four stages of toxicity.


At this stage may not need medical assistance due to the low salt concentration of hydrocyanic acid within the body. It is usually sufficient to bring people into the fresh air to eliminate signs of intoxication. For prodromal stage is characterized by such symptoms of cyanide poisoning:

  • a slight cough, sore throat;
  • a feeling of bitterness in the mouth, numbness of the mucous membranes, metallic taste;
  • disorders of the digestive system: mild nausea, bloating, bloating;
  • dizziness, shortness of breath;
  • increased salivation;
  • increased heart rate, rise in blood pressure.

Only people with experience will be able to determine intoxication by cyanide at this stage, negative signs are charged to the ordinary sickness. If the victim does not leave the danger zone, there is the next stage of poisoning.


Higher doses of toxic compounds is characterized by disorders of the Central nervous system. A person develops emotional instability due to a misunderstanding of what is happening. This stage is characterized by such signs of intoxication:

  1. Apathy, fatigue, increased anxiety, restlessness.
  2. Drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, unsteadiness of gait.
  3. Tremor of upper and lower extremities, partial loss of tendon reflexes.
  4. Redness of the skin, mucous membranes.
  5. Dilation of the pupils with retention of reaction to light.
  6. Shortness of breath, increased respiration.
  7. Cold sweat, chills.

A distinctive feature of the clinical picture at this stage is protrusion of the eyeball from the victim. Combined with their redness can be safely diagnose poisoning with salts of hydrocyanic acid.

On diplomaticheskii stage, a person has a strong fear. He is willing to run somewhere, to commit senseless acts. While in this state, the victim may hurt yourself, so you should monitor his behavior.


At this stage of the poisoning of people in urgent need of parenteral or oral administration of the antidote. The speed of the development of an intoxication increases, there is a violation of all vital systems. The stage is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • tremor of the limbs is replaced by convulsions;
  • occurs fainting;
  • perhaps biting tongue due to the decrease of muscle reflexes;
  • opens vomiting, diarrhea;
  • the pulse becomes thready;
  • high pressure gives way to arterial hypotension;
  • develops hyperthermia, complicated by febrile state.
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In the convulsive stage of poisoning is diagnosed by a decrease in the functional activity of the urinary system. The kidneys cease to filter the blood, excrete products of metabolism. Experiences involuntary urination, urine becomes dark in color, unpleasant odor. It is also possible to bowel movement.


The final and most dangerous stage of poisoning is often fatal without urgent implementation of detoxification therapy and resuscitation. Elevated concentrations of cyanide provokes these symptoms:

  1. Missing tactile sensitivity.
  2. Disappear muscle, the tendon reflexes.
  3. Shortness of breath, surface.
  4. Cramps disappear.
  5. There is no reaction of pupils to light.

A distinctive feature of paralytic stage is a bright blush that persists after the death of the victim.

Oxygen starvation of the brain cells leads to the breakdown of all vital systems. Breathing disorders lead to pulmonary edema and cardiac arrest. The death of a person is ascertained in a half-hour vapour inhalation or ingestion of high concentrations of cyanide.

Emergency care for poisoning

If intoxication toxic compounds occurred in manufacturing, it first aid kit should be equipped with vials of antidote. It would be faster to implement parenteral administration of the drug. After a call the ambulance should be facilitated as the victim of poisoning:

  • to lay, to calm, to trying to the man was conscious;
  • when you stop breathing and heartbeat to do chest compressions;
  • to wash out the stomach with a pink solution of potassium permanganate until the discharge water is free of impurities of particles of food;
  • give the victim adsorbents or sorbents;
  • drink man strong sweet tea.

If the victim is unconscious, it is necessary to turn to the side. If poisoning can be opened involuntary vomiting, and the penetration of particles of undigested food into the respiratory tract will cause respiratory arrest.

Prevention of poisoning with salts of hydrocyanic acid is safety when working with toxic compounds. You should keep the insecticides out of reach of children, wash hands after handling facilities. Upon contact with solutions of high cyanide concentration, you must use a respirator or gas mask.